I wrote earlier today about the Orioles' interest in several Japanese players. Well, you can probably cross shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima off the list. Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker tweeted earlier today that it "looks like Seibu is not going to post Nakajima."
I've written a lot about how thin the free agent starting pitching market is. Well, the free agent shortstop market is probably even worse, which makes the resigning of Cesar Izturis a definite – if not strong - possibility.
Derek Jeter is on the list, but nobody expects him to go anywhere. Alex Gonzalez and Jose Reyes also figure to have their options picked up. That leaves a list headed by Orlando Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta and Juan Uribe.
I haven't spoken to anybody in the Orioles organization who feels that Peralta and Uribe are everyday shortstops right now with their defensive limitations. Cabrera, a fiery, no-nonsense type who is not afraid to get in the face of a teammate, strikes me as a Buck Showalter-type player, but that's just one man's opinion. I would suspect that the Orioles would be all over Jason Bartlett if he isn't tendered a contract by the Tampa Bay Rays, but that's hardly a sure thing, too.
On another topic, I still haven't heard anything definitive on the coaching staff and I wonder if it won't be finalized until after the World Series, which is what Showalter said initially before changing his tune a couple of days later.
I don't like to speculate too much about this kind of stuff when we are talking about quality coaches potentially being out of jobs, but Showalter informing his staff to explore other opportunities because he can't guarantee something being available here is probably as good of an indication as any that there will be significant changes made.
I've said this a couple of times already, but I still expect Jeff Datz to land in Seattle and reunite with Mariners manager Eric Wedge and likely pitching coach Carl Willis. Datz worked with both for years in Cleveland.
There are also reports out there that the Toronto Blue Jays, after interviewing more than 20 candidates, are down to Red Sox coaches DeMarlo Hale and John Farrell, and Indians coach Sandy Alomar Jr. as the finalists for their managerial job. If that is true, that means that Brian Butterfield, a close friend of Showalter and a well-respected infield and third base coach, could become available.
He would obviously jump to the top of Showalter's list as either a third base or bench coach, but I wouldn't say it's a given either. The Blue Jays are very high on Butterfield so they could be willing to offer him a nice position to get him to stay in the organization. Butterfield will also undoubtedly be wooed by several other teams if he becomes available.